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How Cacti and Succulent Soil Is Different From Ordinary Potting Soil

Lyn is a horticulturist and YouTuber with over 35 years of experience growing succulents and cacti.

Can You Use Regular Potting Soil for Cacti and Succulents?

Today let's talk about whether or not you can use regular potting soil to pot your cacti and succulents. The simple answer is no. I recommend using only a cactus and succulent soil that's specially formulated for cacti and succulents.

Why Do Cacti and Succulents Need Special Soil?

Regular potting soil usually contains much higher rates of other ingredients that are not suitable for cacti and succulents. That's because regular potting soil—and even garden soil—is much higher in things like peat, other organic ingredients, and a lot of wetting agents. The whole point of regular potting soil is to retain moisture and keep the soil wet for most houseplants and outdoor garden plants.

Cacti and succulents need to dry out very quickly in their pots in between waterings. If they're sitting in soil that has wetting agents in it and is high in peat, it's disastrous for them. Make sure you use very well-draining soil for cacti and succulents.

So, I recommend either buying a cactus and succulent mix that's good quality or better still, why not make your own cactus and succulent soil blend? That way you know exactly what's going into it.

What's the difference? Comparing cacti and succulent soil to regular potting soil.

What's the difference? Comparing cacti and succulent soil to regular potting soil.

Potting Soil vs Cacti and Succulent Soil

Regular Potting SoilCacti and Succulent Soil

High in peat and other wetting agents

Low in peat and other wetting agents

Retains moisture

Does not retain moisture

Made up primarily of organic matter

Made up primarily of inorganic matter

Decent drainage

Very well-draining

Cacti and succulent soil is drier than standard potting soil.

Cacti and succulent soil is drier than standard potting soil.

Happy Growing!

I hope you found this bit of advice useful for when you next pot a cactus or succulents. In the meantime, have a fantastic plant-powered day!

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© 2021 Lyn Kimberley

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